The Truth About Ivanka's Relationship With Her Inlaws

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were part of the New York scene long before Donald Trump brought them into the political spotlight. The couple frequented the Met Gala often, as Vanity Fair notes, as did Donald Trump.

Ivanka and Jared strutted their New York City status again with their cameo in "Gossip Girl," when they appeared on the episode, "Easy J," as Time notes. The show's creators spoke to Vulture about this after Trump's 2016 election. Did they regret casting Ivanka and Jared? Not at all. Co-creators ​​Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage explained: "They are socialites in New York and they do fit the world of 'Gossip Girl.'" Blending the world of fiction and real life, they added: "I'm sure Lily van der Woodsen knows Trump and would have been on the board of charities with him or Melania. That's the world of 'Gossip Girl,' so to deny it would be wrong."

While they were first a fixture of the New York social scene, they later became a fixture of Trump's presidency. Jared was named a senior White House adviser, according to The Boston Globe, while Ivanka was given a similar position, causing outcries against nepotism. Whatever the case, it's been abundantly clear that Ivanka and Jared operate as a team. But before they became the iconic duo, Ivanka was an outsider to the Kushner clan, and it was no easy task to penetrate that fortress. What's the story of Ivanka's relationship with her in-laws?

Who are the Kushners?

The Kushners and the Trumps have one thing in common: real estate. Charles and Seryl Kushner made their fortune off of New Jersey real estate to the tune of approximately $2 billion, according to New York Magazine. Charles' parents were Holocaust survivors who escaped Poland and fled to the United States in 1949, per Esquire. They found a community of fellow survivors in Newark and the area became deeply significant to the family. Of their four children, Charles showed intense motivation and drive, always keeping the family mantra close to heart: "Think like an immigrant, act like an immigrant." Charles and his father partnered on a real estate company which grew into an empire.

While the Kushner's business acumen is impressive, and certainly contributes to their story of power and authority in the United States, it's really their Jewish faith that has the biggest impact on what would become Ivanka Trump's greatest hurdle in being accepted by them. The Kushners were extremely financially generous in supporting their Jewish community, as Esquire notes, and valued their elite status within that group. A source told New York Magazine that Charles "loved that when he walks into a synagogue the rabbis run over to him. Charlie saw himself as the Jewish Kennedy."

But the Kushner story is not without scandal. Charles went to prison for illegal campaign donations and tax evasion, per the Chicago Tribune, indicted by ​​Chris Christie. He finished his sentence in 2006 and was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump in 2020.

Charles Kushner is ferociously protective of his son

While Charles Kushner has four children, Jared Kushner, his eldest, seems to be the one Charles picked to carry on the family legacy. As New York Magazine notes, following Charles' imprisonment, Jared became "the fresh new face of the Kushner family." When they bought the famous 666 Fifth Avenue, Jared told the outlet that he got the better office. "The only fight we had," Jared said of his dad. "He wanted me to take this corner [instead of him]. I think it's the better view, but my father insisted."

The two remain extremely close. "I speak with my father about everything in my life," Jared said to the magazine. Charles is extremely protective of his son, especially when it comes to the media. He said to Gabriel Sherman, the author of the New York Magazine article: "Be nice to my son. We've been killed enough by the press. Just because I've been killed, don't kill him." While Charles is extremely protective of Jared, he's also full of praise for him. "He was the best son to his father in jail," he said of Jared, "the best son to his mother, who suffered terribly, and he was a father to his siblings."

There's an interesting parallel between the Kushner children and the Trump children. In speaking of Jared, The New York Times wrote: "Like Mr. Trump's children, Mr. Kushner was raised in a privileged environment." So how did Jared and Ivanka meet?

The beginning of Javanka

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner met through business. Friends in a real estate company set up a business lunch with the optimistic idea that they could put their combined financial savvy to good use, per Vogue. Well, the meal went from business to personal.

They started dating in 2007, per Esquire, and since they were both from famous families, their relationship quickly became headline-worthy news. The parallels between the two made the relationship seem that much more perfect. They were both 25. Both had fathers who were headliners themselves, often for contentious reasons. Both were immersed in the world of real estate, and both had proven themselves on their own, though we're not saying that they're exactly "self-made." When you've got Trump or Kushner as a last name, you're born with clout and the finance to back it up.

Ivanka later reminisced to Vogue about that fateful lunch and said of the friends who orchestrated the event: "They very innocently set us up thinking that our only interest in one another would be transactional," she explained. "Whenever we see them we're like, The best deal we ever made!" The feeling was shared by others too. A friend of the Kushner family, Kenneth Pasternak, said of Jared: "You send your kid to Harvard, you network him, and he marries Ivanka Trump. I mean, you couldn't write that script, right?" Right. Except there were a few more hurdles for the couple to jump before they married, and those hurdles came from the Kushner parents.

The Kushner parents were 'horrified' at the match

While many saw Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner as a match made in heaven, Charles and Seryl Kushner did not. In her 2019 book, "Kushner, Inc.," Vicky Ward writes about how Jared's parents were "horrified" by their relationship. Their reason, as Ward notes, was that they "were dismayed at the idea of their son marrying outside the faith." Ward goes on to say, "The idea was particularly offensive to Seryl, who had raised the children. They were her world, and her world was the closed conservative Jewish culture she had grown up in." In fact, Jared's parents wouldn't even agree to meet Ivanka.

Jared was raised in the Modern Orthodox tradition, per The New Yorker, which means that one lives within the secular world while still closely adhering to religious customs. For the Kushners, their faith came first, and they expected their children to adhere to this mindset as well. So it was actually Jared's mother, Seryl, who told him to back off from his relationship with Ivanka, according to Esquire.

Though it's much less circulated, the Trumps may not have always been pleased with Ivanka's choice either. When he was president, Donald Trump reportedly said several times that he "could have had Tom Brady" for a son-in-law, according to The New York Times. "Instead, I got Jared Kushner." While there's no evidence that Brady and Ivanka dated, it shows both families weren't always happy with the situation.

Jared and Ivanka broke up briefly over religion

With so much push-back over their relationship, it might not be a huge surprise that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump broke up for a hot minute. As we already know, Charles Kushner especially had great sway over Jared, and it certainly could have influenced his dating life. As New York Magazine put it, "[d]ating Ivanka was fraught with family peril."

The entire family, even Jared himself, was deeply immersed in Judaism. As The New Yorker notes, when Jared was at Harvard, his loyalty to his family and faith came through equally. "For a college student, Kushner was uncommonly pious and devoted to his family. He called his parents every day. On Fridays, he ate in a kosher dining hall." The Kushner family wanted Jared to marry a Jewish woman, The Times of Israel points out. Meanwhile, there's Ivanka, raised Presbyterian, who was often seen wearing a cross in her younger days. So Jared and Ivanka broke up in 2008.

But it didn't last long. Only three months later, they reconnected at a party which was hosted by Wendi Deng Murdoch, who was married to media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, from 1999-2013, per the Daily Mail. As Ward notes, neither Ivanka nor Jared knew that they'd bump into each other at the event, but that was enough to get the ball rolling again. However, Ivanka still had a ways to go before she was accepted by the Kushner parents.

Charles Kushner put Ivanka to the test

Ivanka Trump agreed to convert to Judaism. It was really the only way a long-term relationship with Jared Kushner would work. Ivanka studied "with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on East 85th Street," as New York Magazine explained, and it was something that seemed to be a positive experience for her. When she was in the process of converting, she told the outlet: "I am studying," she explained, "and it's been an amazing and fulfilling experience for me ... One of the jokes I first started making when Jared and I first started dating is, I'm a New Yorker, I'm in real estate. I'm as close to Jewish, with an 'i-s-h' naturally as anyone can start off."

While this might have been Ivanka's take, Charles Kushner wasn't easily convinced. Bob Sommer, the publicist for the Kushner Companies, told Esquire that Charles put Ivanka to the test when it came to her conversion. "This wasn't like, 'Talk to a rabbi, read a couple of paragraphs,'" Sommer said. "It was hard and difficult, and it was on Charlie's terms."

New York Magazine noted too that Seryl Kushner took a long time to warm up to the idea. But Ivanka persisted and wound up proving herself to the Kushners. So finally, in 2009, they were ready to welcome her into their family and Jared gave Ivanka a 5.22-carat diamond engagement ring, per The Times of Israel. Their wedding marked a major turning point in Ivanka's relationship with the family.

How things changed for the better with their wedding

After an eventful and often challenging dating period, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner finally got married on Oct. 25, 2009. The wedding was as massive and spectacular as one would expect of any Trump event. They hosted their 500 guests at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., according to Vogue. Best of all, the wedding marked a major turning point in Ivanka's relationship with her in-laws.

After putting Ivanka to task in her conversion process to Judaism, Charles Kushner was allegedly extremely warm in his speech. A guest at the wedding told Esquire the essential points of what he said: "Look, everyone thinks she's great, but being Jewish is just unbelievably important to us, and she's not Jewish. It's a problem for me, a genuine problem. Then I watched and got to see she's in love with my son and it wasn't what I thought in the beginning. I feel right about it."

It seems both Charles and Seryl were completely delighted about the match. In her book "Kushner, Inc.," Vicky Ward quoted Bob Sommers, the family's publicist, who said: "By the time the wedding took place ... Charlie and Seryl were effusive about their new daughter-in-law. According to Sommer, Ivanka had not just passed the tests — she had far surpassed Charlie's expectations. She had also charmed Charlie, who would proudly explain to a friend that she really wanted to be a Kushner." So with that momentous day, Ivanka was officially a member of the family.

The Kushners didn't like Karlie Kloss either

While the Kushners were initially skeptical about Ivanka Trump, the arrival of another woman in the family was evidence that Ivanka didn't need to take it personally. Jared Kushner's younger brother, Josh, began dating supermodel Karlie Kloss in June 2012, per Bustle, and the outlet notes that it's unclear where they first met. Their budding relationship became public when Josh attended the afterparty for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, per Us Weekly. Kloss was a model for the brand for years and officially became an Angel in 2013, per Harper's Bazaar.

However, when it came to being welcomed by the Kushner family, Kloss had an even harder time than Ivanka did. Vicky Ward wrote in "Kushner Inc.," that friends of the family refused to call her anything but "the lingerie model." Ward wrote that Josh told others he wasn't allowed to bring Kloss to any family parties and as for Charles and Seryl, "they refused to even meet her" for six years.

Ward writes that Charles was hard on Josh, and he openly expressed his disdain for his son's choice. "Josh, we expect you to do the right thing," Charles allegedly said to his son, per Ward. "The person you are with is not the right person." Kloss, like Ivanka, ended up converting to Judaism to marry Josh, but it wasn't as easy an initiation as it was for Ivanka. In fact, Josh's relationship made Ivanka seem that much more wonderful in the Kushner's eyes.

Karlie Kloss made Ivanka Trump seem much more likable in the Kushner's eyes

The Kushners eventually warmed up enough to Karlie Kloss that she and Josh Kushner married in 2018 in a small, Jewish wedding in upstate New York, according to People. There were only 80 people at the celebration and while the Kushner parents finally acquiesced to the arrangement, they weren't completely happy about it. As Vicky Ward writes in her book, "Kushner, Inc.," "[d]espite Kloss' efforts, the fissure was not closed by the nuptials. Charlie and Seryl admitted to a friend that they had not been asked to play any part in planning the wedding."

Interestingly, the sudden comparison between their two daughters-in-law made Ivanka Trump that much more appealing in their eyes. Ward wrote that if friends pointed out that they were being hypocritical, being hesitant about Kloss while gradually accepting Ivanka, they had a rebuttal ready. "Ivanka, they explained, was different. She was a Trump. She was also, like Jared, real estate royalty," Ward explained. "And she'd attended an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania. Kloss grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and hadn't even been to college when she and Josh began dating." So oddly enough, it was a new Kushner relationship that made it clear how much they loved Ivanka and "embraced wholeheartedly" her marriage to Jared.

Ivanka Trump's complicated relationship with Karlie Kloss

While Ivanka Trump is officially in the inner circle of the Kushner clan, she's had a tricky relationship with sister-in-law, Karlie Kloss. Ivanka and Jared Kushner attended Kloss' wedding to Josh Kushner, per People, but the two women have had a complicated relationship due to politics. Kloss is an outspoken Democrat, which created friction between herself and Ivanka and Jared, who both took on senior roles in Donald Trump's White House. On "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," Cohen asked Kloss if she was "on the same page politically with the family?" Kloss replied, "I'm sure I'm not the only person in this country who does not necessarily agree with their family on politics." Kloss wrapped up by saying that she voted as a Democrat in 2016 and "planned to do the same in 2020."

Ivanka has reached out with an olive branch a few times on social media. In March 2019, Ivanka posted a video on Twitter of Kloss hosting "Project Runway" and said: "Gosh Karlie, it's happening! Amazing. Project Runway. Karlie is host. Epic." However, Kloss didn't respond to this praise, nor does she follow Ivanka on Twitter or Instagram.

After the riot on the U.S. Capitol Building in January 2021, Kloss tweeted a message directed at Donald Trump: "Accepting the results of a legitimate democratic election is patriotic. Refusing to do so and inciting violence is anti-American." Someone commented: "Tell your sister in law and brother [in] law," to which Kloss replied, "I've tried."

Both families have their fair share of scandals

While the Kushners gave Ivanka Trump a hard time early on, it's not like either family can boast superiority. In many ways, their compared wealth and their scandals put them on equal footing. Charles Kushner served his time for tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions, as well as paying a sex worker $10,000 to sleep with a brother-in-law with whom he was feuding, having it filmed to send to his sister, per Esquire.

The Trump family also has scandals and, like the Kushners, they center around the patriarch. Donald Trump has several allegations of sexual assault, according to The Atlantic, all of which Trump has denied. His companies have also gone bankrupt several times throughout his business years and then of course, his term in the White House was checkered with controversy.

Keeping all of this in mind, it's unrealistic for one family to lord superiority over the other. Mary Trump, who has now become an outspoken critic of her famous uncle, was critical of the Kushner's superior attitude at Ivanka and Jared's wedding. In her book "Too Much and Never Enough," Mary Trump said she disliked Charles' jokes that Ivanka was barely good enough to join their family. "Considering that Charles had been convicted of hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, taping their illicit encounter, and then sending the recording to his sister at his nephew's engagement party, I found his condescension a bit out of line," Mary wrote (via Avenue Magazine). Hey, it's a fair point.

What did the Kushners think of Trump in the White House?

The Kushners were famous and powerful before in-law Donald Trump became president, but his time in the White House pushed Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner into the political arena in a major way by making them senior advisors. So what did the Kushners think of Trump in the White House? Charles opened up to The Real Deal in 2018 and said that while he was a Democrat in the past, he doesn't stand with either party anymore. "I don't share a lot of the Republican beliefs and values on a lot of issues," he said. "The Democratic Party that I supported for all the years is not the same Democratic Party of today on a lot of issues that are very near and dear to my heart," Kushner went on. He said that he'd likely register as an Independent.

That being said, Kushner did have considerable praise for Trump: "It's very controversial to say, I do believe in President Trump. I think he's done a good job." Kushner added that he thinks Trump is a great leader.

The praise did not go unnoticed as Trump pardoned Kushner in 2020, NPR notes. Trump's statement read: "Since completing his sentence in 2006, Mr. Kushner has been devoted to important philanthropic organizations and causes." However, after the riots at the U.S. Capitol in 2021, Kushner told The New York Times that Trump's behavior was "beyond our control," so he clearly isn't one sided.

Where does Ivanka sit now with her in-laws?

With such an eventful courtship, followed by an even more notable term in the White House, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been through it all and Charles and Seryl Kushner have been there to support them. When Jared and Ivanka were living in Washington, D.C. during Donald Trump's presidency, Charles and Seryl came to visit them and their three children, according to the Daily Mail. The outlet said that staff were loading up a car, implying that the whole family was leaving for a weekend getaway, and that Charles and Seryl were all smiles.

After the Trumps left the White House following the inauguration of Joe Biden in January 2021, the entire Trump clan left for Florida. Ivanka and Jared bought a $24 million mansion in Indian Creek, according to The Real Deal, and it looks like Charles and Seryl regularly visit.

According to the South China Morning Post, Jared's parents own a home in Florida and regularly stay there, so that they can be closer to their son, Ivanka, and their grandchildren. One obvious reason for the close bond between the in-laws and the young family is that Ivanka seems deeply immersed in the Jewish faith, so any speculation that she just did it to marry Jared doesn't hold weight. She frequently shares images on Instagram of her family actively participating in their religion, like when her children lit the menorah. Clearly, Charles and Seryl have a daughter-in-law who checks all the boxes.

Why Ivanka and Jared stood the test of time

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner certainly have an exciting story. But their relationship has grown much beyond the early drama. Despite going through the ringer for their relationship, especially on Ivanka's side, they really do seem like an ideal match, no matter what an outsider's political perspective of them might be. They're remarkably similar. 

All press coverage of Charles Kushner's relationship with Jared indicates that the father openly praises his son and groomed him, from all of his children, for the role of carrying on the Kushner empire. Likewise, Ivanka, of all of her siblings, seems to be the apple of Donald Trump's eye. The New Yorker goes so far as to say "Ivanka ... is Donald's clear favorite."

Both Ivanka and Jared have a deep distrust of the media. The Washington Post noted in 2017 that Jared "never talks to the media" and Jared himself told Forbes, "I don't talk to the press," shortly after Donald Trump's election. Ivanka learned this at a much younger age, where at nine, she was hounded by paparazzi following her father and mother's divorce. She told GQ in 2007: "You know, the media is vicious, they're brutal—present company excluded," she said. "It taught me not to trust anyone," she said. "You can never let your guard down, and I never really have since that time." Clearly, they're both tight-lipped. So Jared and Ivanka seem like two peas in a gilded pod of privacy and harmony with the in-laws.